A Clean Slate

It’s a new year, but if you are like millions of others who made some lofty resolutions, you may already be struggling to keep them.

Many of our resolutions are based on our desire to reverse unhealthy and unproductive habits. That is never a bad thing, but we often run out of steam not long after the Christmas decorations are tucked away.

This year, don’t let a set-back take the wind out of your sails. Here are a few suggestions that I have found helpful. Perhaps they will assist you along your journey in 2019:

  1. Set small, realistic goals with measurable achievements along the way. This is a much better plan than creating an overwhelming list of resolutions.
  2. Make sure you have an accountability partner or group to help cheer you on to success.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip now and then. Dust yourself off and keep moving ahead.
  4. Once you reach your goal, establish a reliable support system to help keep you on track so you won’t revert to old habits.
  5. Find a daily devotional or inspirational scripture to read each morning to uplift you as you start each day.

There was a great New Year’s message shared with our children during worship this morning. They learned that people often get discouraged when they fail to keep a resolution. Sometimes they even feel that they need to wait a whole year to start over again! But they also learned that God doesn’t keep a record of our mistakes or failures. Each new day He offers us a clean slate . . . a fresh chance to try again.

That’s a great message for any age! 🙂

DIY Life Lessons

I love a good DIY project, but have you noticed how it always ends up more complicated than the original plan? Whether it’s an online video or a home improvement book, the creator rarely shows you the problems you may encounter along the way.

A good example of this is our own DIY bathroom remodel that we began shortly after Thanksgiving. We had hoped to be finished by now but we hit a snag early on.

Replacing the floor became a major project because our home builder laid the original ceramic tiles directly on plywood without underlayment — a big no-no in the building trade. So instead of simply replacing the floor tiles, we had to correct the earlier mistake to give the new floor a proper foundation. This is how many “simple” DIY projects evolve into larger, more expensive renovations.

As I was thinking about all the frustrating aspects of this project yesterday, I began to see parallels in my own life.

Every morning I wake up with plans for the day ahead. I make a mental list based on what I expect to happen, or at least what I hope to accomplish before the sun sets. However, experience has shown me that this is not how the day will go. It won’t take very long before I hit a detour and then I need to adjust my original plan.

Sound familiar?

Life is reliably unpredictable. Knowing this, I have learned that God always has another plan. And thankfully, it is always a better plan than what I had originally envisioned. That is because He created this day and every moment in it, from start to finish.

“The mighty one, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.” – Psalms 50:1

Do-It-Yourself is fine for home renovations, but life is much easier lived when we are willing to adapt to God’s plan for each day. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24

As we begin 2019, let’s remember to rejoice in each new day, no matter what it brings. Have a blessed and happy New Year!